Global Human Rights Torch Relay About To Kick Off
Global Human Rights Torch Relay Kicks Off in Athens 9 August 2007
In Athens, Greece, at 8:30pm on 9 August 2007 the Global Human Rights Torch Relay, initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) and supporters, will light its first flame in a solemn ceremony at Syntagma Square to urge the international community to press for the release Falun Gong practitioners in China or there will be a call to boycott the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Over 25 countries and more than 100 cities will be taking part in this torch relay that is going to span 5 continents. Starting from Europe and ending in Asia in 2008, wherever the Torch travels, CIPFG members and supporters will raise public awareness of the organ harvesting crimes and call to end the genocide of Falun Gong in China.
New Zealanders and Australians are among the initiators of the Human Rights Torch Relay. Senator Andrew Bartlett, Australian Democrats, Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM, Human Rights Commissioner (2000-05), Pan Qing, Democracy advocate, and Olympian Jan Becker, Australian Swimming team, Tokyo 1964 will greet the ceremony in Athens via recorded message or in person. Ms Jan Becker will be at the ceremony in Athens, Greece.
The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) is a global organisation established in 2006, prompted by the reports of forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in an organised manner, with apparent state involvement, for profit.
Falun Gong is a peaceful spiritual discipline attacked by the Chinese regime due to its popularity and its belief in traditional values.
CIPFG now has four chapters - Oceania, Asia, Europe and North America - and more than 300 members. Last year, CIPFG wrote to the Chinese Consulates, Embassy and the State Council of China, demanding the release of Falun Gong prisoners of consciences and requesting admittance into China to investigate the persecution.
Due to a lack of any response, CIPFG published a statement on 30 May 2007 that "Crimes Against Humanity and the Olympics cannot Co-exist in China". On 8 June 2007, an open letter was sent to Chinese leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, again calling for the release of all incarcerated Falun Gong practitioners and to allow an independent investigation by CIPFG. Two months have passed and there has still been no response.
CIPFG has initiated the Human Rights Torch Relay along with Hon David Kilgour, Canadian Students for Darfur, Network for Human Rights in China (Denmark), Doctors Against Organ Harvesting (USA), and many more groups. The purpose of the torch relay is to FREE Falun Gong practitioners in CHINA and to End the Persecution or there will be a call to BOYCOTT the Olympic Games in Beijing.